How to Claim Compensation for Sexual Exploitation
The first step in claiming compensation for sexual exploitation is for the person who suffered to report that they have been sexually exploited to the police. Although this may be a long and difficult process, the sexually exploited person should do their best to co-operate with the police to allow for a thorough investigation to be conducted.
What is Sexual Exploitation?
Sexual exploitation is the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable people through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for basic needs and wants. For example, a sexual favour in exchange for gifts. There are two forms of sexual exploitation:
Contact Abuse - This is where an abuser makes physical contact with a person such as sexual touching, rape or penetration. It can also include forcing someone to engage in a sexual act or making a person take their clothes off.
Non-Contact Abuse - This is where the abuser/s uses other means of exploitation, such as grooming or encouraging a person to watch their abuser take part in sexual activities with other people.
Sexual exploitation can have a significant impact on a person’s life and health. However, the effects may not show straight away, as physical, psychological and emotional injuries are a lot harder to prove with the passage of time and require the diagnosis of a medical professional to determine the cause of the injury.
Claiming Compensation for Sexual Exploitation
After reporting what has happened to the police, the second step is to establish who the sexual exploitation claim is against. If the person who committed the sexual abuse has been convicted of abuse in a children’s home, care home, school or religious organisation, the Local Authority and/or owners could be liable for their employees’ actions. If the person who committed the sexual abuse didn’t abuse the person in the course of their business, then the sexual exploitation claim should be brought against the abuser and an individual.
Once a defendant (the person who committed the sexual abuse) is established, it’s important to gather evidence to support the claim. This can be through medical evidence and records held relating to the survivor of the abuse. These will then be reviewed by one of our Abuse Claims Solicitors to find any other significant details that may enhance the prospects of the claim.
The third step in the compensation claim process is to have a medical assessment of the sexual abuse survivor’s physical and/or psychological injuries to see how the abuse has had a significant impact on his/her life. The severity of the injury will affect the amount of sexual exploitation compensation a person is eligible for, but sometimes, this is not enough to secure compensation alone and other factors may also have a significant impact on the case.
One of these factors is known as ‘limitation’. Sexual abuse claims fall into the category of personal injury, and to make a claim for personal injury compensation, you must act within the first 3 years of the date of the incident or period of abuse, or if the incident or period of abuse happened before the claimant’s 18th birthday, a claim can be brought 3 years from the claimant’s 18th birthday.
However, when it comes to sexual abuse claims, the Court understands that it may be difficult for a person to disclose the abuse. If there is a valid reason for the delay, the Court may decide to let an abuse claim proceed out of time.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
An alternative route would be to make a claim under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Scheme. This is a government funded scheme designed to compensate innocent victims of violent crime in Great Britain. Injuries must be caused by a crime of violence such as assault, murder, rape or sexual abuse. There are time limits to making a CICA application and you must apply as soon as it’s reasonably practicable to do so.
If the incident or period of abuse was reported to the police when the survivor was under the age of 18, a claim can be made up until the survivor’s 20th birthday. If the incident or period of abuse was reported to the police after their 18th birthday, they can apply to the CICA 2 years from the date of the report to the police.
The time limits can be extended, but there needs to be an exceptional circumstance as to why an application couldn’t have been made earlier, and the evidence provided means that a decision can be determined without further extensive enquiries.
For more information see CICA Abuse Claims.
How Common is Sexual Exploitation?
Unfortunately, sexual exploitation of children is common in the UK. 1 out of 20 children have been victims of sexual abuse. But it doesn’t just affect children - around 473,000 adults also experience sexual abuse each year: 404,000 women and 72,000 men.
For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors
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